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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses how, between 1937 and 1954, two global conflicts combined to affect the course of East and South-East Asian decolonization profoundly—the Second World War and the Cold War. It covers how the Americans gained the upper hand in the region from 1945 by occupying Japan alone (unlike in Germany) and how the Chinese communist victory in 1949 and Mao’s alliance with Stalin a few months later readjusted the balance. It explains how the Americans responded to the Chinese–Moscow alliance, and how the Americans and Chinese engaged each other, both directly in the Korean War and indirectly via the French and the Vietnamese in Indochina. It then explains how the Indochina conflict (1945–1954), as a case study, can help to better understand how and why the Cold War and decolonization intersected in such complex and violent ways.

Keywords: Empire, Vietnam, China, Korea, Cold War, violence, insurgency, France, Britain

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